After failing to force a home win against the lowly Finns (the absence of Xabi Alonso, the most telling factor), the much chastised Spaniards invade Paris tonight looking to get their campaign back on track. A defeat tonight would most assuredly mean the defending champions having to qualify through the play-offs, a proposition not many can come to terms with. The French would be happy with a draw as that would ensure their pre-eminence in the group, and this is why it’s compulsive viewing.
Players to watch out for: Giroud and Varane.
Another team in a similar position is England but embarrassingly, they find themselves chasing a much less fanciful Montenegro. Two points behind their hosts, like Spain, the English have a clear mandate ahead of them. So, there you are- two games in which the stronger away teams will be bidding to wrest back the initiative from the more than capable of holding their own home teams. I don’t see why you, a football fan, should be sleeping instead.
Elsewhere, in group B, a Bendtner less Denmark will be pushing to cut the gap against the Bulgarians, who presently occupy the play-off position with a 4 point cushion, and Israel (group F) will be travelling to Northern Ireland with an eye on keeping the Portuguese away from the World Cup.
Postscript: Giroud didn’t play, Spain got their win; England could only draw and are still heading for play-offs.